Exercise After Pregnancy: All You Need To Know
Updated: Aug 24
How soon can you exercise after pregnancy? Are there any activities you should avoid? What if you had a C-section? How can you make your abdominal separation better? These are all common concerns that women have after pregnancy. Let's find out the answers in this article.
When to start exercising
If you had an uncomplicated surgery, it is usually safe to start doing some gentle pelvic floor and abdominal exercises a few days after giving birth. When you feel ready, start with a gentle walk. Then, at your own pace, gradually increase the time and pace of your walks. After 6 weeks, you can return to do yoga, Pilates and some light resistance training. Wait at least 12 weeks before you return to do more intense workouts, such as running and lifting weights. Note that hormonal changes can be present in your body for 6 months after giving birth, making your ligaments more loose. Therefore, start gently and gradually increase the intensity and volume of your workouts over time.
What if you had a C-section?
If you had a C-section or a complication, it is best to wait for the 6 week post natal check with your Doctor before returning to exercising. During the first few weeks post partum, it is safe to do some gentle stretches and pelvic floor exercises. Once you have recovered from the C-section, you can start with low impact activities, such as swimming, Pilates, yoga and low resistance gym work. Your Doctor may recommend to wait 12 to 16 weeks before returning to high-impact activities.
How to improve abdominal separation
Your abdominal muscles may have separated during pregnancy. Abdominal separation usually gets better during the first 8 weeks post partum, but is not uncommon to take longer. Avoid intense physical activity in the first few weeks after giving birth, since it may cause complications such as muscle injury and prolapse. A physiotherapist can teach you some exercises to regain strength of your abdominal muscles, and reduce the abdominal separation.
Gentle and gradual exercise after pregnancy helps women to improve their health and get back in shape. If you are not sure where to start, a physiotherapist can guide you through an exercise program in order to safely enhance your fitness level while avoiding complications.
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